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Old 07-04-2018, 07:18 AM   #1
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What got you into camping?

I grew up in Florida in the 1970s and 1980s. I am one of 6 kids and we use to go boating until my little sister was born and soon my parents realized she could not tolerate the sun and heat. My dad sold the boat and bought a Jayco pop up, a Jay King. He would often tell anyone who would listen that was the second largest pop up made besides the tandem axle Jay Cardinal. This was back in 1972.

We were kind of poor. With six kids my folks did not take us to theme parks. I grew up outside of Orlando and when I was 5 I was at the Grand Opening of Walt Disney World. However, that would be my only Disney Trip until I was a senior in high school.

So, my dad buys this camper and we would go on spring break to Juniper Springs in the Ocala National Forest or Anastasia State Park. Our big trips would be to where 90% of Floridians go in the summer...the Smoky Mountains. We would camp in the national park because in the 1970s it was nearly free. It was on those trips I fell in love with camping in the woods.

This was also the time when the interstate system was under construction. We would go on off 95 in Georgia and see cool towns like Brunswick. In 1976 we took our first of many long trips. I am writing this on July 4, 2018 and we stopped in Philadelphia to see my grandmother , take in the Blue Angels at Willow Grove and see the sights of Valley Forge and Independence Hall. The date was July 4, 1976, our nation's Bicentennial. On that trip we went to the White mountains, Acadia , PEI, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. We would explore that region 3 more times.

On one trip my brother and I were rock hounds. We were on top of Mount Washington. There was a huge piece of quartz we wanted and it was on the side of the road it weighed 50-60 pounds. We got it.ovee the course of the trip we collected hundreds of pounds of rocks. I got two buckets of gravel from Wolf Creek as it entered the Bay of Fundy. We scooped it up because it was perfect aquarium gravel. Over the course of the trip we brought home somewhere between 500-600 pounds of rocks.

Now you can predict the next events. Going home we flatted a tire in North Carolina. Dad gets home and notices an inside wear pattern on the tires. He takes it to Camp A Rama down on John Young Parkway in Orlando and they informed he had a bent axle. Jayco was one of the first to put torsion axles on campers. my brother and I broke it. Lol.

Our most epic trip camping was going from Florida to Glacier, Waterton Lakes , Banff, Jasper , Yellowstone, Grand Tetons with stops at Devil's Tower, the Black Hills, Wall Drug, the Corn Palace and more. My dad bought a brand new 1979 Caprice Classic Wagon and on that trip he discovered the low gear did not hold. Not only did it not hold towing the Jayco , it did not hold coming down Pikes Peak. He smoked the brakes on that wagon.

That camper took us all over the place. The countless memories it brought us and the amazing family vacations I had growing up were life shaping. My passion for hiking, backpacking and mountain biking stems from.those trips. If my dad never took me in the woods in a camper I would likely never have slept in my MSR tent with my son on the Lakeshore Trail a few weeks ago in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

So, I actually owe a lot to my little sister who was a boating wimp for getting our family to camp. My dad sold that Jayco in 1992 for more than he paid for it. The memories it made for him and all of us were priceless.
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Old 07-04-2018, 07:19 AM   #2
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A direct order from DW.
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Old 07-04-2018, 07:42 AM   #3
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I was a scout as a kid so did lots of tent camping. A friends family invited me on a month+ long trip out west in their rv one summer and had a great time.

Fast forward 40 years, wife and I were planning on a Disney cruise for our 25th wedding anniversary. She didn't get the passports for the kids in time so we had to come up with something else. Her suggestion was renting an rv and going out west. Got our own a month after we got back from that trip.
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Old 07-04-2018, 07:51 AM   #4
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Pretty much the same story here. Except my Dad was in the Air Force. So we did some worldly camping. With 5 kids, it was way cheaper than hotels and such. It actually started (as far back as I remember anyway) in Mississippi.
Dad pulled this camper behind his '59 Sedan DeVille, with the 5 kids piled int he back.

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This was us and some friends somewhere in Germany/Italy.

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But in the 70's in Abilene is where I really remember the most. We went to Possum Kingdom in west central Texas (about an hour west of Ft. Worth) as many weekends as we could. Dad would have the truck camper that he and Mom and my two older sisters would sleep in, and me and my two brothers would get the tent. Many many good memories there.

The truck and camper:
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Me, on the left, and my two brothers trying to get the last of the coals for marshmallows. That's Mom in the background.
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I camped a few times with my wife and kids in a tent, but they didn't really care for it. My wife finally got the bug after the kids were grown, and we got our first camper in 2005. Have had one and been camping as often as possible since then.
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Old 07-04-2018, 08:29 AM   #5
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I started camping in 1960 when the family took a trip out west. Pulling a VERY small popup with dad's 1957 Chevy TwoTen station wagon. Went to Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Disney Land, Grand Canyon. Joined the Boy Scouts in 1963 and tent camped for the next 47 years. Bought a used Coleman popup for $250 in 2013 and our current Flagstaff AFrame in 2016. DW & I are now planning this years 6 week vacation pulling the AFrame from Florida to NY to the Midwest down to Arkansas to Alabama and then home.
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Old 07-04-2018, 08:38 AM   #6
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When I was a kid in the early 60's my parents bought a tent and we started camping. A couple years later they bought a pop up. Pop ups were pretty basic back then, two slide out beds and that's about it. No galley, bathroom, AC, furnace, etc. We did have an add -a-room that was a pain to set up and take down but it did offer relief from bugs and gave us more space when it rained. We traveled coast to coast over the years in the USA and Canada and I have sooo many great memories!
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Old 07-04-2018, 08:58 AM   #7
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Pretty simple DW insisted we start camping and I will enjoy it.
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Old 07-04-2018, 09:01 AM   #8
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What got me into camping?

My dad loved the outdoors and loved camping. He was also lived by the belief that there is so much to see in Texas, why would you ever want to leave? So, were rarely did. There was one vacation to Colorado, that we camped in the mountains. Most of our vacations were extended family camping trips, aunts, uncles and cousins, to area lakes or rivers. My first husband wanted nothing to do with camping. My current husband was reluctant because he did not grow up camping. They took 2-3 week long road trips all over the United States for their vacations. Anyway about 15 years ago I convinced him to buy a tent and we give camping a try. He loved it. After a few years, we graduated from a tent to a trailer. My husband is now more enthused than I am about camping.
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:05 AM   #9
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BS of A in the early 60's and my DW camped with her family in the 50's and 60's. So, this came naturally to us.
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:21 AM   #10
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I started in 1964 in a small pop up tent trailer, moved to 18 ft, then 21 ft then 24 ft Travel Trailer with Mom and Dad and brother. I was a Scout and Leader and spent many days and weeks in cabins. We bought a 83 23 ft TT in 88 and towed this all over with 3 kids. Change of circumstances and new wife we bought a park model and Rockwood TT. Moved up to fifth wheel Rockwood. Traded both Rockwood Fifth and Park Model and bought our current Heartland Bighorn.
Happy to get away, currently on our fourth full week since May 24 week away. We enjoy Provincial Parks and the Great Lakes.
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Old 07-04-2018, 10:54 AM   #11
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Like many here, I was a Scout in the early / mid '70s, and had some other opportunities outside of Scouting as well. Pup tents (once during winter, w/ a foot of snow on the ground) to big cabins.

I think I liked it back then b/c it got me out of the concrete jungle...lol. Being in the wilderness (to varying degrees) put me in a different environment, and I liked nature.

Skip fwd about 30 years, and the DW and I decide to cruise to Alaska & drive thru it & back down in a rented class C. I think both of us liked the RV portion better than the cruise portion. Then we started looking at RVs for a bit, when we got back, but never pulled the trigger.

DW passed away a couple of years ago, and I decided to get a TT & take some time off before I got too old to be able to enjoy it. Now I'm on my 2nd TV and planning my 2nd trailer...LOL
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Old 07-04-2018, 12:50 PM   #12
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I bought a new, 2010 17' Casita Spirit Deluxe Travel Trailer to facilitate my first trip to the Burning Man Festival (TOTAL boondocking). The "egg" was <2500#, and, my 2004 Toyota Sienna minivan I then had pulled it easily. I had a GREAT time at Burning Man and, returned in 2011 & 2012 (I couldn't get a ticket in 2013). During the four years I owned that little fiberglass egg, I put more than 50,000 miles on it traveling all over the country. I looked for three years to find the RV I would "graduate" to (a 2015 Dynamax DX3-37RB I bought new in 2014. It has the BEST floorplan I've seen [which Dynamax has since changed]). Last month, I sold my "stick & brick" and, I'm now house-free, living fulltime in FrED (Front End Diesel). Retired life is GOOD!
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Old 07-04-2018, 01:36 PM   #13
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When I used to work on a chain gang. We slept at night alongside the roads we was cutting . Was a lot nicer than being in the cell. After 12 years camping became the natural choice.
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Old 07-04-2018, 01:44 PM   #14
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We used to live off the land on BLM land in the back of a truck for two years. Now 25 yrs later we choose to start Glamping, not the same. We still love nature, and getting away from people, tv, music etc
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Old 07-04-2018, 01:46 PM   #15
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When I used to work on a chain gang. We slept at night alongside the roads we was cutting . Was a lot nicer than being in the cell. After 12 years camping became the natural choice.
"Shakin' the bush, boss!"

(one of my favorite movies, ever)
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Old 07-04-2018, 01:59 PM   #16
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My kids were all playing competitive soccer. We were traveling to tournaments all over the country. 30 weekends a year we were at a tournament. We're bought a 5th wheel to save money and have been hooked since. No more soccer tournaments but we are still gone at least twice a month.

I did learn that once i fix everything i break we really dont save that much. But we have fun.
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Old 07-04-2018, 01:59 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Smokyroo View Post
I grew up in Florida in the 1970s and 1980s. I am one of 6 kids and we use to go boating until my little sister was born and soon my parents realized she could not tolerate the sun and heat. My dad sold the boat and bought a Jayco pop up, a Jay King. He would often tell anyone who would listen that was the second largest pop up made besides the tandem axle Jay Cardinal. This was back in 1972.

We were kind of poor. With six kids my folks did not take us to theme parks. I grew up outside of Orlando and when I was 5 I was at the Grand Opening of Walt Disney World. However, that would be my only Disney Trip until I was a senior in high school.

So, my dad buys this camper and we would go on spring break to Juniper Springs in the Ocala National Forest or Anastasia State Park. Our big trips would be to where 90% of Floridians go in the summer...the Smoky Mountains. We would camp in the national park because in the 1970s it was nearly free. It was on those trips I fell in love with camping in the woods.

This was also the time when the interstate system was under construction. We would go on off 95 in Georgia and see cool towns like Brunswick. In 1976 we took our first of many long trips. I am writing this on July 4, 2018 and we stopped in Philadelphia to see my grandmother , take in the Blue Angels at Willow Grove and see the sights of Valley Forge and Independence Hall. The date was July 4, 1976, our nation's Bicentennial. On that trip we went to the White mountains, Acadia , PEI, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. We would explore that region 3 more times.

On one trip my brother and I were rock hounds. We were on top of Mount Washington. There was a huge piece of quartz we wanted and it was on the side of the road it weighed 50-60 pounds. We got it.ovee the course of the trip we collected hundreds of pounds of rocks. I got two buckets of gravel from Wolf Creek as it entered the Bay of Fundy. We scooped it up because it was perfect aquarium gravel. Over the course of the trip we brought home somewhere between 500-600 pounds of rocks.

Now you can predict the next events. Going home we flatted a tire in North Carolina. Dad gets home and notices an inside wear pattern on the tires. He takes it to Camp A Rama down on John Young Parkway in Orlando and they informed he had a bent axle. Jayco was one of the first to put torsion axles on campers. my brother and I broke it. Lol.

Our most epic trip camping was going from Florida to Glacier, Waterton Lakes , Banff, Jasper , Yellowstone, Grand Tetons with stops at Devil's Tower, the Black Hills, Wall Drug, the Corn Palace and more. My dad bought a brand new 1979 Caprice Classic Wagon and on that trip he discovered the low gear did not hold. Not only did it not hold towing the Jayco , it did not hold coming down Pikes Peak. He smoked the brakes on that wagon.

That camper took us all over the place. The countless memories it brought us and the amazing family vacations I had growing up were life shaping. My passion for hiking, backpacking and mountain biking stems from.those trips. If my dad never took me in the woods in a camper I would likely never have slept in my MSR tent with my son on the Lakeshore Trail a few weeks ago in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

So, I actually owe a lot to my little sister who was a boating wimp for getting our family to camp. My dad sold that Jayco in 1992 for more than he paid for it. The memories it made for him and all of us were priceless.


Wow, what a wonderful story. I grew up in Cocoa Beach the same time you were growing up in Orlando I didn't grow up camping with my family, but we often camped as kids with groups of friends on the islands along the canals of the Indian River. I remember going to Disney soon after they opened, too, but we weren't big into theme parks, either; we were blessed to live on the beach and that was our life and lifestyle growing up.

My husband and I started camping more than 30 years ago for the same reasons you love camping. Time with our kids, our families and now, sons and daughters in law. I'm sure, when the time comes, grandkids, too. My husband has a scouting background and we both have a great love of the outdoors, so bringing up our kids camping first in tents, then a popup and then into RVs, it was a natural for us. Our kids are grown now and not only continue the tradition, they still come hang out with us on many of our trips. I credit camping for the closeness of our family and I would not trade it for the world.
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Old 07-04-2018, 03:20 PM   #18
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I don't really remember when I first started camping. I know the reason was that hotels were too expensive for me and I liked being outdoors. Don't get a lot of good photos when at a hotel.

I spent 26 years going to the EAA convention in Oshkosh (now AirVenture) and camping with our chapter. The last time I used a tent was in 2005 and someone backed into mine (while I was in it). Fortunately (I thought) the pole bent but didn't snap. When I started taking the tent down, I found the ridge pole was slit quite a ways down making the tent unusable again so into the trash it went.

In 2006, I bought my Trailblazer and looked for something to tow. One of our chapter members was selling his 1993 Dutchmen 20' so, being tired of getting flooded out in a tent, I bought my first RV and loved it. Let it rain.

I now have a 2015 Salem CruiseLite and am looking for trips to go on. Last year was about 35 days so I figure I'm getting pretty good usage out of it.
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Old 07-04-2018, 03:40 PM   #19
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Born in 1960 (58 years ago six days from today) I grew up in southern Michigan, where camping is the way of life!

I was pulling and backing a 24-foot TT when I was eight years old...

Not to mention pulling around a manure spreader and other ranch implements with our old tractor...a 1942 Willies Army Jeep!

Which is why everyone stands in amazement when I plop my 5'ver right where I want it 99 out of 100 times without any direction on the first crack at it!

I tent camped as an adult because I was into boating for several years, but got back into RV'ing about 20 years ago after leaving Michigan for Colorado the second time.

Am now on my third trailer since then!
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Old 07-04-2018, 03:48 PM   #20
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Started as kid with my parents in 1953, in an umbrella tent, with a Coleman 2 burner Naptha gas stove and lantern.

From Cold Lake/Grande Centre/Medley area, (north-east of Edmonton) as far south as Los Angeles and most western states.
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